PHILIPPI, W.Va. – Alderson Broaddus University was officially introduced into the Mountain East Conference on Friday.
The 12 SportsZone staff sat down with AB Director of Athletics, Carrie Bodkins, and football head coach Travis Everhart afterwards to get their thoughts on what moving to the Mountain East means for the university and teams.
For today’s story: Ryan Decker’s conversation with Bodkins.
Q: Tell me what the last couple weeks have been like after being officially announced to be joining the MEC earlier this month, and then now being officially introduced to the conference on Friday.
CARRIE: “Well it was a whirlwind, to say the least, because it happened very, very quickly, which is what we had asked for. But it’s been an exciting time, to say the least. The staff is very excited, the university is very excited, and certainly the student athletes. This is a very positive experience for AB athletics.”
Q: During the press conference on Friday, travel was spoken a lot about. Especially now with everything going on in our world today, I’m sure cutting down on that travel is a great move all the way around for you guys.
CARRIE: “It is, it’s huge. You said it best. Finances are key right now, So it condences our travel significantly. For instance, this year our football program will not have an overnight trip. Normally we averge foru or five in a conference that has a much larger geographic footprint. So for us it is huge cost saving, amongst other benefits that we’re seeing as well.”
Q: Let’s put football aside for a second. In terms of the other teams that you’re in charge of here as Director of Athletics, how does this move help the rest of those teams.
CARRIE: “Take men’s and womne’s basketball for instance, our schedule in the previous conference – the GMAC -, was usually Thursday/Saturday. So if we had to take a trip to Trevecca Nazarene and Kentucky Wesleyan, we’d leave on a Wednesday afternoon and they’d be lodged Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night, and then come back on a Saturday with meals. And the biggest thing is, not only the expense, but the concern with missed class time. so they were missing at least two-and-a-half days of classes in a week. And that’s just one example.”
Q: And probably, too, for anyone who’s from West Virginia or any of the other states where an MEC school is, there is probably some familiarity with those people that you’re trying to recruit as well.
CARRIE: “Oh yes, absolutely. It certainly helps from a recruitment standpoint. It helps with local talent, as well as West Virginia talent. We’re all trying to get those good athletes in West Virginia, and there’s a lot of institutions in West Virginia. So, being in this conference, with our competitors, certainly I think has a benefit, because they’ll be more familiar with AB. And it does provide them an opportunity for their friends and family to come and see them, so there is a draw to that. Whereas, in our previous conference it made it a little more challanging. The closes trip that they would really have to go see a conference opponent was about three-and-a-half hours.”
Q: You spoke about local talent there. Probably the biggest local talent that you all have been able to get, at least in this year’s recruiting class – Khori Miles from Robert C. Byrd. He’s the Gatorade state Player of the Year for boys soccer. What does getting a player like that both say about AB, and say about moving to the Mountain East Conference, where recruiting is going to be bumped up a little?
CARRIE: “You said it, he’s the Gatorade Player of the Year. So, there’s a lot that’s to be said about that. It’s exciting that we were able to land a top-notch West Virginia recruit. I think it says a lot for the university itself in what we have to offer academically and competitively. It says a lot about our men’s soccer staff, and how they recruit. And they were able to get a very successful high school student athlete.”
Q: Would you mind giving an update on the status of Rex Pyles Arena?
CARRIE: “The intent is to have that facility up and running by October 1st. So, we’re working through the processes right now and starting the maintenance within, hopefully, the end of this month.”
Q: With everything going on, you’re going into your second full year as AD. You’ve dealt with a lot already. So I’m sure that anything that comes forward you’re going to be ready for.
CARRIE: “One thing that I like about this job is that you never know what to expect. There’s been a lot in this first year to say the least. With the Coliseum, the pandemic, and then of course all of the other things that you wear in between. But it keeps life interesting, it keeps the job interesting. But yes, I feel like I’m well prepared for wahtever comes my way moving forward. And it certainly opened my eyes to what the job is really about.”
Q: As an athletic department, do goals or expectations change as all now that you’ll be in a new conference? Or do you keep those goals and keep going?
CARRIE: “I think they change. We’re hoping to be a little more competitive. So there’s the competitive piece, where we want to continue to get better. Across the board, that’s every program. So there is, not only from myself, but certainly our coaches to see if we can be a little bit more competitive.”
The conversation between AB football head coach Travis Everhart, and our Abbie Backenstoe will air Sunday.